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Learning Trends, Talent Development

Effective Learning and Development: 5 Ways to Put L&D Front and Center

Effective Learning and Development: 5 Ways to Put L&D Front and Center

The Great Reshuffle is leading to record-high turnover, and finding skilled talent seems more difficult than ever. In fact, CFOs say their top concern right now is labor availability.

Effective learning and development (L&D) programs are a great way to stand out as a brand to attract skilled talent and keep current employees happy and engaged. When 94 percent of employees said they would stay at a company longer if their employer invested in their careers, L&D is certainly a program worthy of investment.

Attract, engage, and retain the talent your organization needs to succeed by putting L&D strategies front and center at your organization. Here’s how.

1. Begin learning and development during the employee onboarding process

An effective employee onboarding program goes beyond paperwork and other administrative tasks to help new hires feel welcome and acclimate to their roles, teams, and organizations. This is a great time to jumpstart your L&D program!

Early learning can center around topics like company history, mission, and culture, and help your new hires learn the skills and tools they will need to be successful. Take time during the onboarding process to set development plans for each team member and incorporate early learning into your onboarding program. Employees who strongly agree they have a clear plan for their professional development are 3.5 times more likely to strongly agree that their onboarding process was exceptional.

How we do this at WorkRamp

At WorkRamp, new hires are placed into onboarding groups where everyone starts on the same day. This allows new hires to form early bonds with their colleagues, while also learning together and collaborating on training activities and projects. For example, onboarding groups work together on live training activities including elevator pitches, competitive investigation, and persona “get-to-know-you’s.” 

2. Incorporate learning and development into your performance review process

Performance reviews are a time to reflect on your employees’ contributions to your team and map out next steps for development and career growth. Any areas that need improvement in the employee’s current role should be mapped to a corresponding development goal that can help the employee advance their skillset. But don’t stop there—goals and development plans should be discussed year-round during regular manager one-on-ones so they can be adjusted as needed.

It’s also important to hold career development conversations with employees and encourage them to pursue internal opportunities once they’ve reached these milestones. Doing this on an employee’s first and second work anniversaries more than doubles the likelihood that they’ll feel fulfilled and stay at your organization. And 75 percent of employees who receive promotions will stay with the company for at least three years, as do 62 percent of workers who make lateral moves.

How we do this at WorkRamp

Managers are encouraged to give concrete ways for employees to improve on growth edges and areas of opportunity during the review process. Then they recommend specific content, L&D courses, or steps so that employees have tangible goals that will help them move their careers forward.  

3. Provide opportunities for employees to share their expertise

Your team members are your organization’s greatest asset, and they can be a tremendous resource to tap into for an effective learning and development program. For instance, you can ask your top performers to facilitate live training sessions to help their colleagues level-up. Or you could ask your key software power users to help you create a tutorial for new hires. This not only helps you generate more high-quality content, it can help turn your internal customers into champions that will help promote your L&D program among team members.

How we do this at WorkRamp

WorkRamp provides many opportunities for employees to share their expertise throughout their tenure. For example, there’s an entire track dedicated to employee-hosted sessions at company kickoffs. Employees are given the opportunity to submit topics they’re passionate about, which have included ‘how to negotiate pay’ and ‘how to interview effectively.’ In our upcoming 2022 kickoff, we have 16 sessions dedicated to employees sharing their expertise. 

4. Recognize team members for learning and development achievements

Recognizing and rewarding team members for their L&D achievements helps to demonstrate the value your organization places on development and ensure your program’s long-term success.

Make time during all-hands meetings to highlight individuals and departments that exemplify a culture of continuous learning. Managers might also highlight learning and development programs each team member is undertaking during team meetings, and discuss progress toward development goals with team members during one-on-ones.

Employee development should be rewarded with raises and promotions over time, so team members understand that their commitment to learning will help them reach their career goals within your organization.

How we do this at WorkRamp

One way WorkRamp recognizes employees frequently is through regular shout outs in Slack. Completed development courses and guides are highlighted in Slack for #props so employees can be recognized company-wide for their achievements. 

5. Show the impact of L&D

As with any HR program, showing the impact of learning and development can improve buy-in and engagement company-wide. Set some goals and measure your progress over time so you can show a quantifiable impact. For example, tie learning back to decreased ramp time for sales, or show how internal mobility has increased as a result of your L&D program.

Share the impact of learning with your team during all-hands to encourage more team members to participate (and to encourage company leaders to boost your budget).

How we do this at WorkRamp

WorkRamp shares the impact of L&D programs throughout the company, whether the wins are big or small. For example, the entire company recently completed a LinkedIn Level-Up course to help employees gain skills and confidence to post more frequently on social channels. We circled back a month later to show how the new skills positively impacted the business, such as gaining increased followers on the WorkRamp LinkedIn company page, and more social posts from employees overall. 

Effective learning and development is crucial to the long-term success of your organization

Most of today’s jobs didn’t exist in 1940, and 85 percent of jobs that will exist 10 years from now haven’t been invented yet. Effective learning and development will help your organization fill existing skill gaps and prepare for the future by training the talent you’ll need to be successful. 

It’s no surprise that 58 percent of companies say that closing skill gaps has become a higher priority since the pandemic began and 69 percent are engaging in more skill building than they did before the crisis. Keep L&D front and center at your organization so you can maintain focus on this key element of your organization’s success.

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